Casino regulator-cum-operator the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp (Pagcor) has signed a memorandum of agreement with the country’s Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC), aimed at promoting closer cooperation between the two bodies, including the sharing of information.
The AMLC is a government body that has been given the task of tackling the threat of money laundering in the Philippines.
In a speech at the signing ceremony, AMLC chairman Benjamin Diokno said the agreement would allow the two parties to collaborate in sharing the content of studies and research – and other information – regarding money laundering and terrorism financing. It also would cover the carrying out of “capacity-building measures” to counter threats in those two fields.
“The latest National Risk Assessment notes a high sectoral money laundering threat among designated non-financial businesses and professions — including casinos which are highly vulnerable,” said Mr Diokno, as reported on Thursday by local media outlet BusinessWorld.
The official, who also heads the central bank of the Philippines, expressed concern with changes impacting the casino industry in the country, including the recent rise in the number of Philippines offshore gaming operators (POGOs).
“With Internet-based casinos, casino junket operations, and reduced transparency of high-rollers, there is much vulnerability in identifying sources and movements of funds,” he said, as quoted by the Manila Bulletin.
“Similar to banks and other financial institutions, casinos undertake high-volume and high-speed financial activities but in the gaming context. Being generally large cash-based businesses, casinos are competitive in its growth and susceptible to criminal activity,” Mr Diokno added.
Since 2017, casinos in the Philippines became “covered persons” by the country’s Anti-Money Laundering Act. It requires casinos to report to the AMLC what are referred to as “covered transactions”. Gaming operators must report any single casino cash transaction that involves an amount of more than PHP5 million (US$98,000) or its equivalent in any other currency.
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